Alex Kozinski

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I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn't touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God.
Mother Teresa
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Alex Kozinski (born 1950-07-23) was the first Chief Judge of the Federal Claims Court, and has been a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit since 1985. He is also a popular essayist.


  • For better or worse, we are the Court of Appeals for the Hollywood Circuit. Millions of people toil in the shadow of the law we make, and much of their livelihood is made possible by the existence of intellectual property rights. But much of their livelihood - and much of the vibrancy of our culture - also depends on the existence of other intangible rights: The right to draw ideas from a rich and varied public domain, and the right to mock, for profit as well as fun, the cultural icons of our time.
    • Discussing the right of publicity issue raised in the case White v. Samsung Elec. Am., Inc., 989 F.2d 1512 (9th Cir. 1993). [1]
  • The parties are advised to chill.
    • Concluding words of his opinion for the court in Mattel, Inc. v. MCA Records, Inc., 296 F.3d 894 (9th Cir. 2002) at 908.
  • In a very real sense, the Constitution is our compact with history . . . [but] the Constitution can maintain that compact and serve as the lodestar of our political system only if its terms are binding on us. To the extent we depart from the document's language and rely instead on generalities that we see written between the lines, we rob the Constitution of its binding force and give free reign to the fashions and passions of the day.
    • A. Kozinski & J.D. Williams, It Is a Constitution We Are Expounding: A Debate, 1989 Utah L. Rev. 978, at 980. [2]
  • Overprotecting intellectual property is as harmful as underprotecting it. Culture is impossible without a rich public domain. Nothing today, likely nothing since we tamed fire, is genuinely new: Culture, like science and technology, grows by accretion, each new creator building on the works of those who came before. Overprotection stifles the very creative forces it's supposed to nurture."
    • Dissenting in the White v. Samsung Elec. Am., Inc., 989 F.2d 1512 (9th Cir. 1993) ruling. [3]
  • Just to prove that even the silliest idea can be pursued to its illogical conclusion, Legal Realism spawned Critical Legal Studies.
    • A. Kozinski, What I Ate For Breakfast and Other Mysteries of Judicial Decision Making, 26 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 993 (1993). [4]
  • This is really a pretty good system you have here. What do you call it? "Due process". We're very proud of it.
    • United States v. Juan Ramirez-Lopez, No. 01-50164 (9th Cir. January 10, 2003). [5]

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